The Technology is There to Deliver Programmatic Across More Channels Than Currently Use It

In our latest piece from the IAB’s Display Trading Council, Lewis Sherlock (pictured below), head of enterprise strategy, AOL International, discusses the broader applications of programmatic.

Originally, when trading of digital display inventory began through ad networks, it was a way for publishers to electronically monetise unsold remnant inventory, giving agencies the opportunity to target these impressions with intelligent data sets on behalf of their client base. Now, the quality and scale of the inventory that flows programmatically has greatly increased. We are already past the tipping point for digital display, mobile, and video inventory to be bought and sold programmatically versus hand-sold – and this is expected to reach 70-80% by 2018, according to IAB UK research.

Lewis Sherlock - AOL InternationalNow the broader advertising industry is looking on with interest to see how programmatic trading can be applied to many, if not all, marketing channels in the future. The industry is already experimenting with programmatic buying for radio and TV, in places like Australia and the US, and there are discussions about how we can bring that offering here. The problem is the legacy of the original technology it was built on: transitioning a method of buying that was never set up to be programmatic to cope with huge amounts of data and microsecond transactions. What’s clear is that the technology is available now to deliver programmatic buying and selling on many more channels than currently use it. Advertisers wait with baited breath for the day they can plan and deliver entire campaigns through one system that will ‘play nice’ with all their needs: using the same data, targeting and attribution capabilities, whether it be outdoor, TV, digital, or all three.

Stewart Easterbrook, chairman, MediaIQ, adds: “There are clearly technical challenges with the application of programmatic tools and techniques to media, such as TV and outdoor. But one of the most exciting aspects of programmatic is its intelligent application of insights borne of data. Often this has been focused around more accurate targeting, or a more optimal acquisition result; but there is no reason why this approach can’t be applied to driving a client’s brand metrics or their customers’ interaction with broader media messaging. So, short-term technical obstacles will need to be overcome and clients will need to reassess the metrics by which they measure success. But the prize is a world of better-informed deployment of media in the round.”

What about impact? The debate rages on whether the scientific nature of programmatic buying affects the levels of creativity of campaigns delivered in such mechanical ways. In my view, machines are infinitely more capable than humans at buying and selling, delivering the creative to the right place, right time and audience, and delivering the data back, to optimise creative and targeting opportunities. But, ultimately, this will just change the role of humans in the process, not replace it. As our data gets better, so does the advertising creative. It enables advertisers to be more strategic in their approaches, understanding what’s working through greater analysis of trends and insights, allowing greater freedom to test creatives and adapt them to what’s working for individual audiences and deliver better experiences. Personalisation at scale: being able to synchronise data through devices (including TV) and the offline worlds is the most important part to solve.

Broader adoption of programmatic in the buying, selling, and attribution processes of other marketing channels will give us as an industry the scope to trade better, smarter, and with greater returns for all involved – whether buyer, seller, or consumer, across any medium.

Caoimhe Cox, head of account management, Radium One, summarises: “As our ability to target and deliver tailored creative to consumers increases, we must also consider the platforms through which this messaging will be delivered. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices, 26 for each individual on the planet. The rules of engagement for brands in this new world have yet to be written. While programmatic delivery, and the wealth of data associated with it, allows us to evolve our view of the connected consumer further; the challenge of identifying and conversing with the same user across multiple platforms remains. Programmatic technology has helped us master the art of identifying the right user at the right time. Now we must turn our attention to the creation of a single customer view. This will allow for more engaging, relevant media placement, and in turn brand experiences.”

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Lars M. B. Anthonisen is Global Account Lead @ Google. Previously, he held various digital marketing positions at media companies across Europe and Asia including Regional Digital Director at MediaCom APAC, CMO at Adform and Digital Manager at Universal McCann Worldwide.

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